Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today we are all part of history

Today is an historic day. And we are all a part of it.

As always on the day for national elections, I woke with that sort of Christmas morning feeling. What will the day bring? How many of us will vote? Today is We, the People. One nation. Indivisible. Speaking our voices freely. It is no little thing.

I was 21 the first time I voted in Dallas, Texas. I was able to vote there because Texas passed a law the spring before that college students from out of state could vote in Texas if they had residence of more than six months. This is my 11th time to vote in a presidential election, always somewhere in Texas. The first time, I was in line and talked with a white-haired woman in her 80s who was as excited as I was. I don't remember how many times she told me she had voted but I was impressed--and it didn't even occur to me at the time that she was of an age to remember when women could not vote. Her vote was precious to her. As mine is to me.

She personally remembered the struggles, and yes, the violence involved in the fight for women's right to vote. I do not. But in my lifetime I have witnessed the violence, and even the deaths in the fight to give black Americans the reality of the freedom to vote, not just the written law.

I am not convinced that the nation will change direction so much, no matter who is elected. I do believe that no matter who we elect, for President, senators, representatives, state officials, county officials et al, that we will survive as a nation. Last week an old man told me if Obama is elected, "this country is going right down the drain." A young man of 23 told me yesterday that he believed "this is the most important election in 100 years."

My own feelings are not so passionate except--today my voice is heard. It counts. and that is intensely satisfying.


Crucis said...

Until you mentioned it, this is my 11th presidential election as well. My wife too. Then I remembered friends who didn't live to reach that number.

I am not as optimistic as you. I've seen the damage political rogues have caused and can cause. Regardless of the outcome of today's polls, I believe the coming years will not be smooth and placid.

Matt G said...

I turned 19 just before the 1990 elections, but had forgotten to re-register in Austin, so I didn't vote for my first election, which was an interim year election in which the main issue was Clayton Williams vs. Anne Richards. I believed was a simple idjit then, and I do now. But I was sorry for some of the things Richards did, and have some mixed feelings about not having voted, because I know I would have voted for her.

So I didn't vote for a major election until 1992. This was thus my 5th time to vote for a president. (or against another candidate.)

night lightning woman said...

No matter who won, the coming years were not going to be smooth and placid. Not when economists say this is the roughest financial crisis in 70 years. I don't think either candidate could be called a rogue, and I do believe in the process as well as American knowhow. If that is optimistic, then hooray! I haven't always been one.

Matt G, I agree. Too many times I have voted against, not for. It is still a part of the process, and it CAN work. How minuscule it is, I am still glad my small voice counts somehow.